Orecchiette with Kale and Breadcrumbs

This orecchiette recipe from the January 2013 issue of Bon Appétit came out amazingly well. I adapted some of the proportions to serve two people, and mixed in some additional pecorino.


1/2 large bunch Tuscan kale, stems trimmed
2 tbsp. (approx.) olive oil, plus more for drizzling
40 g (approx.) coarse fresh breadcrumbs
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 tbsp. (approx.) unsalted butter
3 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
Generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
150 g orecchiette pasta
10 g (approx.) freshly grated Parmesan
10 g (approx.) freshly grated pecorino
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Cook kale in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool. Set aside pot with water. Squeeze out excess liquid from kale and chop leaves and finely chop stems. Set aside.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add half of the chopped garlic and cook, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are golden, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Heat butter and remaining oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add anchovies, red pepper flakes, and remaining chopped garlic. Cook, mashing anchovies with a spoon, until a paste forms, about 2 minutes. Add reserved kale and about a 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring often, until kale is warmed through, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook pasta in the reserved kale cooking liquid, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking liquid.
  5. Add pasta and about a 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid to kale mixture and stir to coat. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Mix in a little more than half the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and pecorino. Toss to combine.
  6. Serve drizzled with olive oil and topped with the remaining breadcrumbs, Parmesan and pecorino.